GM Michigan Buyers to Be Joined by Austin, NYC, in Five Volt ‘Launch’ Markets

GM Michigan Chairman and CEO Edward Whitacre Jr. will announce the expansion of target regions for the November launch of GM’s Chevrolet Volt from three to five.

Online PR News – 02-July-2010 – – AUSTIN, TEXAS – GM Michigan extended-range electric car, the Chevrolet Volt, is scheduled to be available this November but in a limited reach across the nation, and two new areas will be officially announced today.
The Volt will be available to customers in five areas during its initial release, and now joining Michigan, Washington, D.C., and California will be New York and Austin, Texas. Mr. Whitacre is expected to deliver this message to the Austin Chamber of Commerce during his keynote address today.
The announcement comes on the heels of a major Global Business Conference held Tuesday (June 29, 2010), which addressed approximately 200 members and stakeholders of the financial and GM Michigan community. Discussed during the conference, the first one of its kind since July 2009, was the current status of the GM, the progress it’s made, and future opportunities.
Conference a kick-off for gaining IPO support?
GM Michigan insiders anticipate GM will prepare its first filing in July for an IPO to be made as early as the fourth quarter of this year. Some say the conference was the kickoff for the road show GM Michigan executives will be making in the near future to drum up interest and confidence for its forthcoming IPO.
Among the comments made during the conference by Mr. Whitacre, many stressed a new way of thinking and GM’s streamlining, in addition to a dissuasion that this present GM Michigan a brand new GM, and not a re-launch of the one people knew a year ago.
“We’re changing the way we do business—by placing a new emphasis on speed, simplicity, and accountability,” Mr. Whitacre said. “And this is helping us deliver real-world, real-time results.”
Mr. Whitacre also said, “We’ve shown that we can design and build great vehicles that can compete with the best in the business, and that we’re serious about using technology as a competitive advantage.”
The Volt: GM’s darling?
The Volt represents GM’s attempt to use technology to gain a leg up, and it’s a complete departure from the large gas guzzling trucks and SUVs of GM’s past. Though actual range and miles-per-gallon has been in contention, according to GM the Volt has an extended range delivering up to 40 miles of electric driving before an engine generator takes over to sustain the battery charge and further the range to approximately 300 additional miles.
The first pre-production Volt rolled off the GM Michigan line at the Detroit Hamtramck Assembly Plant on March 31, 2010, where GM continues to invest heavily, totaling close to a $500 million dollar investment. The Detroit News states 8,000 plug-in Volts will be built during the first year of production with around 4,000 Volts produced through summer of 2011.
GM announced last month the initial buyers of the Volt will be eligible for one of 4,400 free home charging stations, built by ECOtality, Inc., or Coulomb Technologies. Installation might bear extra cost though GM said in many cases it will be included. The charging stations would hasten time required to get to full charge for Chevrolet Volt owners.
“Many owners will plug their Volt into a normal 120-volt electrical outlet, charge overnight and drive to work in the morning using only battery power,” said Tony DiSalle, Product and Marketing Director for the Chevrolet Volt in a press release. “For Volt owners who want to install a faster 240-volt charge station, we expect the Department of Energy project to save $1,000 and $2,000.”
A brighter, more charged future
With many Americans and car buyers moving toward smaller, more fuel efficient cars, and away from GM Michigan trucks that drove the automaker to great success and also great decline, convincing consumers to fall in love and purchase the Chevrolet Volt and other smaller vehicles such as the Chevrolet Cruze is critical.
It might be easier for GM to gain and recapture lost consumers with its planned IPO for which GM may file its initial plans as soon as this week or next. The IPO could raise up to $20 billion, making it one of the biggest IPOs ever filed in the United States. The Treasury’s stake may be reduced by as much as 20 percent from its current 60.8 percent holding, all the better for GM’s reputation.
Check back with for all the latest news coverage surrounding GM’s pending IPO.
How close do you think GM is to releasing its IPO? What do you think about the Chevy Volt and Cruze? Add your comments.
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[Source(s): The Detroit News, General Motors, Reuters, Forbes, Bloomberg]